Jerry Lin is at Salem School in Germany
Guten Tag! (Good day) I have been staying at Schule Schloss Salem on exchange for more than a month. Going to Salem is definitely the best decision that I made for myself. At first, I was really nervous about the school because I don’t speak German at all. After few days I realized I should not be worried about the language problem because everyone here can speak English really well and everyone is willing to help you when you need it.
There are two education system in Salem which are Abetour and the International Baccalaureate (IB). About two thirds of the students are in Abetour, which is taught fully in German, and the rest of the students are in IB program, which is where I am in Salem. Salem is a really international school. There are more than forty nationalities at the school, which is a really diversity environment. Most of the students at Salem board, which is the reverse of Athenian. I really enjoy boarding here because you can spend a lot of time with your friends after school and also meet some new people.
The class schedule is pretty similar to Athenian, but every class is a long period and each subject only meets two or three times a week. The break between classes is half an hour long, which is different than Athenian. The reason for the long break is because sometimes students need to travel from the Spetzgart campus to the Harlem campus, which is a ten minute drive. The other reason is we have a second breakfast after our first lesson and students need the thirty minutes to finish their breakfast. You will never get hungry when you live at Salem because there are five meals a day: early breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner.
During the week, we can take a bus to a nearby town where we can see a movie, have lunch and shop. Lake Constance is next to the town. It is the biggest lake in Germany and separates Germany and Switzerland. One of the weeks was festival week, when people dress up and dance in the town. One tradition is setting up a tall tree in the middle of the town and letting the kids climb up the tree. There are different prizes depending on how high each kid can reach.
Beside schoolwork, there are also a lot of activities at Salem. Monday afternoon is call the service day, which is similar to community service hour in Athenian. There are a lot of services you can choose from, such as: filming team, theater tech team, Round Square. I chose GAN (Global Action Network) because the service is fully in English. The fun thing about my service is we are organizing a “prom” for Salem, but instead of guys asking girls to prom we are letting girls ask the guys. The biggest event in this semester is the fashion party. I found it similar to a Halloween party because everyone dresses up as whatever they want: rock star, zombies, spider man…
Another special experience is taking the train in Germany. I was invited to my friend’s house in Mannheim, which is a big city in the mid-west of Germany. I had to transfer two to three times to get to my final destination. It is not easy work. I was told that the train is late most of the time, which will affect your next train you are trying to catch. A lot of times the train is delayed by half an hour or more, and my train was also delayed by forty minutes. I was lucky that my friend traveled with me so that he can translate the train information, because a lot of time the information is only spoken in German. I got to my final destination an hour late but at least I got there safely. I had a great weekend in Mannheim.